‘Excelling in Excelsia’ exceeds its goal of signing 1000 coffee growers’

In 2020, Equatoria Teak Company (ETC), Maris’ sustainable teak business in South Sudan, launched a coffee outgrowing project – Excelling in Excelsia – to revive the region’s lost coffee industry. The goal was to link 1000 local farmers with international coffee markets, creating employment in one of the world’s most fragile states.

The programme was featured on BBC’s Africa Daily and has exceeded expectations. 

18 months later, 1013 farmers from 47 groups have signed contracts in Nzara and Yambio counties with ETC. The coffee farmers have been provided with 89,100 seedlings, an average of 88 per grower, all of which have been planted.

We have been amazed by the uptake from the local community,’ says Ian Paterson, Managing Director of ETC. ‘We anticipated signing up 300 farmers this season so to have exceeded our goal of signing 1000 farmers, 18 months into the project, is incredible. 

‘Having met with farmers in all 47 of the contract groups it is evident that they are thinking and planning ahead. They see working with ‘Exceling in Excelsia’ as an opportunity for a better future for themselves and their families.’

Excelling in Excelsia is run jointly with FAO South Sudan, Hummingbird Action for Peace and Development and Cordaid. It is one of four new schemes funded by RVO’s Sustainable Development Goals Partnership facility to achieve food security and private sector development.

The project creates new jobs, targeting women and farmers younger than 35. To provide the best chance of success, seedlings are raised for a year in Equatoria Teak’s nursery before being distributed to the farmers for planting. ETC offers extension services to support farmers throughout the contract. Within five years the Excelsia coffee, a little-known variety of the Liberica family, indigenous to South Sudan, will be productive. ETC will then help connect farmers to the USD 465.9 billion global coffee market. International buyers have already expressed interest. 

For more information about the project visit: https://www.equatoriateak.com/our-coffee

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